Introducing Sysamone Phaphon
Sysamone Phaphon is a leader and advocate for diversity and inclusion in the Cannabis industry. She is the current CEO and founder of the AAPI inspired CBD Nanoemulsion brand, KhuenPhu. Sysamone also provides growth strategy & marketing consultancy for the cannabis industry through a digital marketing agency called A.V.O. Prior to pursuing the consultancy path & building her own company, she was previously the Head of Growth for cannabis manufacturer, Vertosa, where she managed PR, Marketing and brand partnerships for Vertosa & their various cannabis brand clients.
What inspired you to start your community work/brand?
When I entered the regulated cannabis industry as Head of Growth for Vertosa, an active ingredient manufacturer, I saw a path in which I could modernize all the ways our Asian community and culture created healing remedies for our health ailments. My company KhuenPhu is not only a homage to my family's healing traditions and my mother's hometown but the path Sysamone I have chosen to enlighten and educate our Asian community to another modern method of healing through hemp cannabinoid derived products like CBD balms, nano tinctures, fast acting broad spectrum and full spectrum gummies. Blending my love for my culture, our healing practices and my love for cannabis all in one place led to the birth of KhuenPhu.
I advocate for plant medicine using my platform and through education initiatives because it has helped me personally in so many ways. It has so many health benefits for our bodies and also its origin was discovered in Central Asia. The cannabis plant was utilized for a variety of reasons by our communities with the hemp plant species being originally used for textile fibers. However due to the war on drugs and the Cannabis prohibition era that shone a dark light on hemp due to its association with marijuana. We are seeing the tides turn as more scientific research is being presented to the public about the medicinal benefits of hemp and marijuana derived cannabinoids. The Asian community is an underserved population with little to no access to cannabis education. I am hoping my work will serve as a stepping stone to de-stigmatize the plant and provide basic education in hopes that our Asian community will begin to allow more candid conversations, welcome plant medicine with an open mind, and accept the plant as a medicinal option for improving our health & wellness.
What is your favorite dish? Is there a story behind it?
My favorite dish is papaya salad. It's a staple dish in our community and probably a favorite amongst a good percentage of us. It was an impactful dish for me because this was the first dish my mother taught me to make at the age of 8years old. She taught me how to cook and for my age generation, a lot of mothers taught their daughters to cook so they could catch a husband. My mother always told me that teaching me to cook was not so I could find a husband because majority of men are stupid but so I could survive on my own without depending on anyone else to cook for me or feed me. Cooking our own dishes was one of her life lessons for survival and for bringing the community together. I loved watching how papaya salad brings our people together at the dinner table or in our case as we sit on the traditional Lao Sat. I watched my mother go to the park in our hometown every summer to set up her little food vendor to sell her famous papaya salad dish to our small Lao community. Everyone came out everyday of the summer to enjoy her papaya salad recipe. To this day even though she doesn't sell the papaya salad anymore, that is one of the dishes she is remembered for by our community.
What does courage mean to you?
I would say James Neil Hollingworth defined it best: Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.” What I do daily and my reasons and motivation behind my goals, dreams, aspirations and my family's well being are all more important than fear hence my courage to continue to keep pushing forward in spite of the fear, obstacles and challenges that arise on my path.
In the next few years, I hope the community will see me abroad educating our Asian communities internationally about the benefits of plant medicine as well as sharing our products worldwide.
Thank you so much Sysamone for sharing your story with us! Tuk Tuk Box is proud to exclusively feature Southeast Asian ingredients and include refugee, migrant, and generational stories in every box.
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